Public board ready to lock out high school teachers
Ontario high school teachers in legal strike position, delay deadline to Sunday at midnight
Ottawa's largest school board is prepared to lock out its high school teachers if protests or other job action inside school becomes unsafe, according to the chairwoman of the board of trustees.
Ontario secondary school teachers have a midnight Sunday deadline for potential job action, according to its union, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation.
Union members were are in a legal strike position to take "administrative" job action as of Wednesday but decided to delay the sanctions.
This comes as a result of legislation passed earlier this year by the provincial government. The bill limited the ability of teachers' unions to strike, cut benefits and imposed a wage freeze.
Some of the responsibilities that would be affected include supervising students in the hallways and in the cafeteria, and participating in parent interviews outside school hours.
The public board's director of education, Jennifer Adams, has said principals and vice-principals would be asked to monitor the halls.
Principals also have power to close schools
Board of trustees chairwoman Jennifer MacKenzie, who is also the trustee of the Somerset/Kitchisippi Ward for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, said principals are already empowered to shut down schools if they consider a particular situation unsafe.
But the board itself is ready to shut down schools if a dangerous situation occurred, MacKenzie added.
"At the moment, we do not plan to lock out employees but we have the structure in place to be able to change things very quickly," she said.
Adams said the board wants to keep schools open but it will close them if student safety is at risk. She also said there are no negotiations planned between the board and local teachers before the deadline.
Other school boards in Ontario are also preparing to lock out their teachers.